CES: A whole new dimension for TV

Attending the International Consumer Electronics Show is something like stepping through the looking glass, as companies show off the stuff they hope you’ll be buying soon. Mainstream 3-D television is years off, but Mitsubishi may be portending the future with its 3-D TV (http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com/theater.html).

Think back to high-definition TV. The electronics industry trumpeted the technology’s arrival for years before prices and choices became palatable to average consumers. Today, large flat-screen high-def TVs are among the largest growth items in electronics. Another fast-growing area is "connected" televisions, as in those connected to the Internet.

Officials from the Consumer Electronics Association, the nonprofit trade group that stages CES, see this class of TV as the fourth-fastest growth area, just behind electronic readers such as the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader and a plethora of others on the way.

I jumped into the fast-forward time machine last night after putting on a pair of 3-D glasses and standing in front of an 82-inch Mitsubishi 3-D TV. The images I saw were just as vivid as those I experienced last week watching the Imax 3-D version of "Avatar." Amazing. A Mitsubishi representative at the CES Unveiled press-only event said the set, and a different one with some added features, are available today. The WD82737 model sells for $3,300 and the 837 model sells for about $4,000. That price is down more than half from just 12 months ago.

If you become an early 3-D TV adopter you won’t be waiting long for programming; the Mitsubishi representative said both ESPN and the Discovery Channel will be announcing dedicated 3-D channels soon. Look for the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, coming to South Africa this summer, to be among the first sporting events broadcast in 3-D. Several media reports say DirecTV and Sony plan to announce a joint venture this week during CES.

See today’s blog item from Chistopher Null for more on this pending announcement:

So, how long before you’ll be replacing that big-screen set you just got? The CEA believes that one-quarter of all TVs sold in 2013 will be 3-D sets. It’s a safe bet prices will fall from today’s marks.

It makes me wonder just when holographic TV will be available.

Stay tuned.

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